Crude oil prices slip, gasoline futures trade higher

LONDON, August 30, 2017 – Oil prices slid lower on Wednesday as ongoing disruptions from Tropical Storm Harvey kept refineries from buying crude, weighing on demand but prompting fears over fuel shortages.

U.S. crude oil was down 27 cents or 0.6% at $46.16 a barrel by 04:30 AM ET (08:30 GMT), not far from Monday’s one-month trough of $45.77.

Global benchmark Brent futures were at $51.35 as barrel, off 31 cents or 0.56%.

Some refiners in Corpus Christi that shut down ahead of the storm were looking to restart, but heavy rains were expected to last through Wednesday, adding to catastrophic flooding.

The National Weather Service said the storm has set a rainfall record for tropical cyclones in Texas.


But even refineries that are able to restart may experience difficulties getting enough oil supplies.

Ships carrying oil are still unable to enter Texas ports, while producers in south Texas who shut down operations are only starting to ramp up and some pipelines that carry supplies to refineries are still shut.

U.S. gasoline futures were higher, rising 0.62% to $1.6302.

Prices spiked to a two-year peak of $1.8180 on Monday after Motiva Enterprises said it was shutting down the nation’s largest refinery due to flooding.

Oil and fuel prices have diverged since the storm began amid fears over fuel shortages.

Investors were beginning to turn their attention to the weekly oil inventory report from the U.S. government, with analysts expecting to see another decline in stockpiles.

The American Petroleum Institute, an industry group, said late Tuesday that U.S. crude inventories fell by 5.780 million barrels last week, indicating that the U.S. oil market is gradually tightening.

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